Light and shade

Over the last couple of weeks, I have been meaning to do a post just on shadows, but no matter how hard I try not to, I keep seeing things that I want to capture that are somewhat off topic, so I snap a few extra pictures.  And then I fall in love with the resulting images, and have to share them with you.  Well, I would like to say that today will be completely different, but I can’t.  Today will not be exactly the shadow post of my dreams, but I will talk a lot about shadows.

For a multitude of reasons, I ended up at Bolen Bluff Trail this evening, which is part of the Payne’s Prairie trail system.  Evening is often a good time to capture shadows, when the light is almost sideways but still strong.  Florida has such strong light and such interesting shapes, that it really is a particularly good place to  capture shadow imagery.

As you can see, palm trees are a good source for interesting shadows.  The fronds draw a fine image on many different surfaces, including tree trunks, and even other palm fronds.

Not all shadows draw a fine image.  Some are very heavy handed.  Sometimes a large-scale shadow can create a mood rather than drawing a picture.  In this case, it is the whole woods that cause the shadow, and that are in shadow.  The people walking away from us were just a random couple, but they create a focal point in the brightness of the prairie.  I like that just enough of the blue sky leaks through the trees to keep them from becoming shapeless black mass in the foreground.

This one is a little more subtle, without the black trees crowding you in.  It is almost a reverse of the previous one, with the dark in the middle and the light around the sides.  Although there is still a person in the frame, because of its placement, the tree becomes the focal point.  Although this is a little brighter, the darkness of the foreground still creates a moodiness that I love.

And here, rather than the foreground and background being in tension, the earth and sky are.  The negative space of the prairie grasses point to the light of the sky with their feathery fronds.

Sometimes, no matter how wonderful the shadows are, you just have to have light!  With adjustments in exposure, the color of the grass becomes an important part of the image.  Given the proximity of Payne’s Prairie to UF, I wonder if maybe this was the inspiration for the orange and blue of the uniforms.

Is there anything that needs to be said here?

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